Strongly considering beginning a Nissen journey

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stevejgee
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 10/21/2013 5:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I've suffered from GERD for around 4 years now and have been on one PPI or another for most of that time. I currently take 40mg of Nexium daily. My symptoms have steadily progressed beyond the traditional burning sensation to a "crawling" feeling in my throat to now not being able to eat a meal and not feeling like there is a giant chunk of food lodged in my esophagus. This seems to be worse with foods like bread, or raw carrots or other carb heavy stuff, in addition to the classic GERD trigger foods.

I experience this during the day, but it is most troublesome at night, where I often feel as if I cannot breathe. During these episodes, I will burp and feel food that seems as if it is at the edge of my esophagus waiting to burst out. When I throw up however, (which I'll make myself do if the sensation becomes overwhelming) either a bit of food will come up or just water. This does not relieve the sensation, but does relieve some gas which may be part of the problem.

I've tried Zantac and Gas-X both at night before I go to bed and they both worked for a period of time, but then began to make me feel even worse, like the pills were stuck in my throat too. I've lost plenty of sleep because of this and that is perhaps one of the worst effects, because it affects everything else in your life, as I'm sure many of you know.

Bottom-line: I'm 24 and my changing symptoms appear to be getting worse and worse. I had an endoscopy about 4 months ago (not my first) and my GI said he sees no serious damage, which I suppose is a good thing, but there is certainly something wrong. I know I have the option of doubling up on my PPI, but frankly, I'm tired of simply trying to suppress the stomach acid via an Rx, where it feels like my reflux is battling back harder and harder. I want to live a normal life, where I don't constantly experience these uncomfortable physical feelings and the anxiety that comes along with them.

I've researched and read here about the Nissen surgery, and it becomes more appealing each day. I've spoken shortly with my doctor about it, he said it's an option, but mentioned that it can become a catch-22 situation where the wrap is not tight enough, then too tight, etc. I also have the usual concerns, not being able to throw up, trouble burping or swallowing. I'm also concerned about the recovery time, seeing as I'm only a few months removed from college, working at a job I've only been at a couple months and planning on looking for a new one soon. But I need to do something about this.

I'm not as strict as I could be about my diet, but I avoid a lot of food, and this sensation of stuck food happens without trigger foods. Like I said before, this surgery is becoming more and more appealing, and I feel comforted reading your stories. This forum has gotten me through plenty of rough patches before, and I thank you all for sharing your experiences and am extremely appreciative of your input.

Thank you,

Steve

StephanieJean
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 500
   Posted 10/22/2013 5:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Steve!
Sorry to hear you are having such bad symptoms. Gerd can be really debilitating. I know as someone in my 20s, the prospect of having such a major surgery was really scary, but so was considering having to take pills for a lifetime, especially when the pills did not work all the way.

When I really started bothering my doctor about why I was so bad off, I had the upper GI done like you, but did they have you do any other tests, like the barium swallow or a bravo or 24 hour PH test?

My PH test was what showed my doctors that no amount of medication would ever fix me and that I needed surgery to fix my hiatial hernia, even though it was very small, it was causing a lot of reflux, acidic and non acidic.

If you have not had the tests, I suggest you ask your doctor about them, they will give you more answers and you will need to have them all done anyway before surgery, so best to get it out of the way if it is something you are really considering.

-Stephanie

KitKat880
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 10/22/2013 7:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Steve,

I'm so sorry that you are suffering! This condition is no fun, and unfortunately it seems to cause anxiety for so many of us. I know it does for me. I was diagnosed with GERD by my GI doctor almost two years ago now, and the past two years have felt more like ten!

I've done a lot of research on this surgery, and ultimately have made the decision to go through with it. My procedure is scheduled for Thursday. I have complete confidence in my surgeon, knowing that he has done thousands of NFs and even redoes ones done by other surgeons that haven't lasted. Yesterday during my appointment we talked about the chances of failure. I'm 27, so I need this to last for a long time! He said that the most important thing you can do ahead of time is to get all of the right testing done. (And find the right surgeon, of course.) A lot of the horror stories that we read online are often from people who had the procedure when they should not have due to a lack of testing. So I definitely agree with Stephanie. Push for those tests! If your doctor won't do them, get another doctor.

At the end of the day, I made the decision to move forward with the NF because I don't want the rest of my life to be like the last two years. I want this health issue resolved, and this is my only shot. So I'm going to take it.

Best of luck to you, Steve. I'll be posting as I start the recovery process to let everyone know how it goes.

Stefanie

TonyG
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 10/23/2013 10:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Hiya Steve,

It's not an easy decision to make, that's for sure. Major abdominal surgery isn't something to take lightly. And when it comes down to it, there will never be a right time to do it. Somehow we, as humans, will find an excuse to put it off and procrastinate. Even as we swallow that 4th or 5th pill of the day.

At some point you have to stop and consider how disruptive it is to your life and decide that you've had enough. It took me a long time to decide but when I couldn't eat anything, couldn't brush my teeth, couldn't lay flat, couldn't enjoy life in general because the GERD took over my life, I decided to be more aggressive with my treatment. Protonix 4x's a day wasn't cutting it and it didn't matter what I had to eat or drink because everything affected me negatively.

The key to making this a not-so-negative experience for you is to do your research, find this forum (welcome!), and to find a good surgeon. I'm a planner, by personality. I did so much research I could practically perform the procedure myself. I had directions for my family as to what I needed to have done for me, what I could and could not eat, sample meal plans, shopping lists, the whole she-bang. I grilled my surgeon to the point that I was comfortable knowing he was the right choice to perform the operation.

As for work, I couldn't really afford to be out of work for long, but based on my research I came to terms with a minimum of 4 weeks and that was exactly what I needed. By the end of the third week I was answering emails and taking phone calls from the couch, so it wasn't all that bad.

As for your recovery, it really is what you make of it. There's some awful experiences documented on here (and all over the internet, frankly) but there are also very good ones. The key is to let yourself heal and rest. You absolutely cannot push your recovery AT ALL. Sitting on the couch or laying in bed drove me crazy. Especially when I could look outside into my garden and see a weed growing that needed to be pulled (I'm not much of a couch-potato haha) but I had to resist the urge to get up and do things that would aggravate the wrap and cause more trouble. Find yourself a stack of books and a Netflix subscription and don't plan on doing much. Make absolutely sure you have a diet plan in place and follow it closely.

Anyway, I've rambled quite a bit on the subject, but your health is important and this is a big step to take. I had my NF back in April and I couldn't be more delighted with the outcome.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like on this forum. 99% of the surgeons out there have never had this procedure done on them so all they can give you is textbook definitions of how you should feel. This forum is a great place to be to hear from real-life experiences.

Be well!
-TonyG-
-TonyG-
Nissen Fundoplication April 30, 2013
Pain-Free, Reflux-Free, Sleeping on my back!
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